NHL Realignment: How would it affect the Bruins?

Thanks to Cassie McClellan of Raw Charge for this image. ALSO, WELCOME TO THE DIVISION! - Cassie McClellan

Here's the proposed map for next year's realignment. How does this affect Boston - and is it a good or a bad thing?

Under the NHL's proposed realignment plan, which has yet to be approved by the NHLPA and the NHL Board of Governors, a four-division NHL may be in the works for next year. Apparently the idea is that the top three teams in each conference would make the playoffs, along with the next two best records in each conference.

While the NHLPA may be iffy about having one conference with eight-team divisions and one with seven, everything else about this seems pretty ok - especially from the Bruins' perspective. Not only do we not lose any divisional rivals, but we gain one exciting team and two that are pretty easy to beat. We'd get to see Pavel Datsyuk do his thing multiple times a year, and we'd get to kick the stuffing out of Florida and Tampa Bay a few additional times a year, as well.

The travel isn't even that bad - it's not exactly hopping on a train to get anywhere in the division like the "Atlantic" will be - but what's the occasional swing down to Florida during the cold winter months, especially when you look at the travel schedule out west?

For those of you who love another team out west like maybe the Wild, or the Blues, or the Blackhawks - and lament only getting to see them once every two years? Realignment helps you, too - under this proposed plan, every team gets a home-and-home with every team in the opposite conference.

The only thing iffy about this plan are the names - "Central" and "Atlantic" sound very AHL. Why not name them after important people in hockey? It doesn't have to be the Adams and Patrick divisions all over again, but spice it up a little, NHL.

What do you think?

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